Coming home

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Story by Jason Strickland, Sports Editor

Freshman hitter Carly Sojka (11) is tied for third on the team in kills with 107. (Photo by ANDREW MATHER, Photo Editor)

There is a sigh of relief coming from the No. 7 Jennies volleyball team this week following a three-match road trip last weekend.
“It was exhausting and tough…but I don’t think we could have handled it any better,” junior hitter Taylor Goodness said.
“It’s a huge relief,” head coach Flip Piontek said.
“With the three day trip, it’s hard, it’s mentally tough for all of us, but I think we did a good job at focusing on controlling what we thought we could control,” freshman hitter Carly Sojka said.
The Jens (13-3, 7-0) are at home for the next three weeks, as they begin a seven-match homestand Friday against Great American Conference team Arkansas Tech (15-5, 5-1), as part of the Peggy Martin Challenge.
“We need to take advantage of the matches at home to prepare us for the last five of six matches that are on the road,” Piontek said.
Since the Jens just defeated Pittsburg State 3-1 last Saturday to give them their 10th straight victory, Piontek said they focused more on preparing for the regional game against Arkansas Tech in practice Tuesday, and will prepare for the Gorillas (9-7, 1-6) Thursday.
“We put the second team in the positions where we think they are going to run their offense, and how they are going to do it,” Piontek said. “Then you expect your team to handle the varieties of offense that the team coming in shows you.”
Piontek did point out that Pittsburg State’s head coach Ibraheem Suberu could have a different lineup and offensive plan than he had last Saturday, since he trains his players to play multiple positions.
“I think we will be prepared for that strategy, what he chooses to do is going to be entirely up to him, and it will be interesting to play,” he said.
Another aspect of Saturday’s 3 p.m. matchup with the Gorillas that will be different than last Saturday’s, is how long each team has to prepare for each other.
Pittsburg State had two days to prepare for Central, while the Jens did not have any since they had matches last Thursday and Friday. Each team will be on equal ground this time around.
“I was very pleased with how our team handled a team that had prepared for two days for them,” Piontek said. “[I was pleased with] how they handled the third match in a row, how mentally they worked really hard to stay in a match that physically they were kind of exhausted in.”
Sojka expects nothing but the best from the Gorillas.
“We have to be prepared,” Sojka said. “We know that they will change up their game. We know they will bring their best game for us, and we want to do the same and compete as well as we can again.”